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ESR 40:369-373 (2019)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/esr01003

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Conserving the understudied invertebrates: a call for a systematic monitoring protocol for Asian horseshoe crabs in nursery habitats

Chun-Chieh Wang1,2,3, Shiang-Lin Huang2, Xueping Wang4, Peng Xu4, Xing Huang4, Yongyan Liao3,4, Xiaoyong Xie5, Kit Yue Kwan3,4,*

1Marine Biology Institute, College of Science, Shantou University, Shantou, Guangdong, 515063, PR China
2Guangxi Beibu Gulf Marine Research Center, Guangxi Academy of Sciences, Nanning, Guangxi, 530000, PR China
3Guangxi Key Laboratory of Beibu Gulf Biodiversity Conservation, Beibu Gulf University, Qinzhou, Guangxi, 535011, PR China
4College of Marine Sciences, Beibu Gulf University, Qinzhou, Guangxi, 535011, PR China
5Key Laboratory of South China Sea Fishery Resources Exploitation & Utilization, Ministry of Agriculture of China, South China Sea Fisheries Research Institute, Chinese Academy of Fishery Sciences; Guangdong Provincial Key Laboratory of Fishery Ecology and Environment, Guangzhou, Guangdong, 510300, PR China
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: Baseline information on population size, trends and spatial distribution are important for population status assessments of threatened taxa. The 3 species of Asian horseshoe crabs (Tachypleus tridentatus, T. gigas, Carcinoscorpius rotundicauda) are declining throughout their geographic ranges, and identifying their essential nursery habitats and monitoring juvenile population changes is necessary for conservation management. We reviewed juvenile population studies published during 2001-2019 to evaluate which sampling methods were commonly adopted and how baseline data were presented. The applied methods included random or systematic quadrat (35%), random visual search (41%) and belt transect (47%). Juvenile population sampling and data reporting were generally insufficient for assessing population status and clarifying nursery habitat configuration. We propose a conceptual framework and minimum standards for collecting and reporting juvenile population and nursery habitat baseline information. We also outline the importance of showing population density, rather than abundance, and spatial distribution in relation to habitat seascape or landscape satellite images. The framework and recommendations will improve the feasibility of robust, long-term monitoring of juvenile Asian horseshoe crab population status and nursery habitat, thus serving regional conservation management purposes.


KEY WORDS: Baseline · IUCN Red List · Assessment · Carcinoscorpius rotundicauda · Tachypleus gigas · Tachypleus tridentatus


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Cite this article as: Wang CC, Huang SL, Wang X, Xu P and others (2019) Conserving the understudied invertebrates: a call for a systematic monitoring protocol for Asian horseshoe crabs in nursery habitats. Endang Species Res 40:369-373. https://doi.org/10.3354/esr01003

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